I had the opportunity to interview the multi-talented, Dallas-based music-master Valenti Funk. What really stood out to me is his dedication to originality, creativity, and groove. I hope everybody enjoys his music as much as I do.
While there are many small drum manufacturers today, there are many unique needs for all of the different styles of music people play. The truth is that you need different tools for different jobs, and some companies make drums that are really great for some styles of music, while others may have strengths in other styles. However, we all know that high end instruments can be expensive, which often forces drummers to settle for less than the best. And, when you need multiple kits for different kinds of music, you're starting to develop a pretty demanding burden on yourself.
With many years of experience in the drum industry, David Phillips has established a fantastic network of musicians. Having worked in artist relations with a few different manufacturers, and also working freelance, his experience seems to be pretty unique. I'm not sure there are many people who have had the opportunity to put a book like this together. You can learn more about the book at www.music-images.co.uk
The book is a coffee table photo collection of amazing images of drummers onstage. It's really inspiring to see the beautiful drum sets and large audiences all over the world.
I decided to interview David, curious about how the book came together.
Sheldon: What inspired the idea for this book?
1. Is it important that the beater comes ALL THE WAY back between strokes? Why or why not? Does this factor change as the tempo increases?
I recently discovered a great website while looking for drumless backing tracks to practice - MinusDrums.com.
After digging through the impressive collection of drum set play alongs, I was excited to get behind my drum set and make some noise. It's really easy to get caught up in hand technique, speed drills, coordination work, and endless Youtube searching rather than playing music. And, for a lot of musicians, we aren't always in a position to be committed to a band. Drumless tracks are a great way to practice playing music.
And, with over 600 songs on the site, you can practice just about any style of music you want!
After exploring the site, I sent Ken Florentino - who manages MinusDrums.com - a few questions to learn more about him and the company. I quickly realized that Ken is a cool guy, and that he is working hard to expand MinusDrums.com to become an even larger library of drum set play-alongs.
Ken Florentino Interview
Sheldon: When did you start playing drums?
With over 20 years of playing experience, Joe Crabtree isn’t just a professional drummer. He’s one of those hyper-obsessed, fanatical nerds who truly lives his art. Whether he’s transcribing a Dave Weckl fill, touring with Wishbone Ash, or designing software to analyze polyrhythmic, multi-limb orchestrations, Joe eats, sleeps and breathes the drums.
I had the great opportunity to speak with Joe Crabtree after finding him on Youtube. Looking through his channel, I was shocked. “Could this guy be REAL? It’s like we have EXACTLY the same taste in music!” It was a very pleasant surprise.
So, I decided to send Joe an email explaining our similarity in taste. I also gave him a few recommendations - especially the Lyle Workman album “Harmonic Crusader.” A few days later, I got a response back from Joe. But, not just an email message. Joe decided to transcribe the entire Gary Novak solo from the Lyle Workman song “Nothing Left Unsaid.”
This. Was. Awesome.